Posted by admin on February 4, 2012

In 2009, Copycats was commissioned to conduct renovation work and to provide additional draft-proofing on aged wooden window frames at our Grade ll listed barn conversion home in East Sussex. The work was carried out promptly and to spec and to our complete satisfaction.

In 2012, the acquisition of a 14" polished gunmetal ship's bell of nautical and historical importance required the design and construction of a suitable display stand. Copycats was instructed, and they approached this project with enthusiasm, artistic subtlety and sympathy, providing the design and construction of a magnificent solid oak display belfry, truly in keeping with the bell's lines and its history.
This has been a true testament to Copycats' versatility and professional ability in their field of specialist project joinery. Well done Simon and your team.


M.V. Clan MacGregor – Ship’s Bell Timeline

M.V. Clan MacGregor was built by the Greenock Dockyard Ltd, Greenock (Yard No.501), the keel being laid as KING EDWARD and which was launched in September 1962 and completed for King Line (Cayzer, Irvine and Co. Ltd as managers) London, 21st December 1962 as CLAN MACGREGOR.

The archived Hull Specification Book mentions the ship’s bell as ‘one 14" polished gunmetal bell, with the ship's name engraved, fitted in the iron belfry on the forecastle’. The bell was extremely likely to have been cast at the Greenock foundry and engineering company, William Hume & Company, trading as Clyde Copper and Brass Works, which closed in 1990 and which almost certainly cast this bell, although it has not been possible to categorically confirm this.

During the ship’s life with Clan Line, the bell would have been used as a look-out communication tool with the bridge in congested waters, a communication method with the bridge during anchoring operations, and also an anti-collision sound signalling tool when at anchor in restricted visibility.

Clan MacGregor is thought to be the last Clan Liner in service and, after completing final discharge in Preston docks in November 1981, was sold to Greek Owners. The MacGregor office in Whitley Bay, where the world's first successful steel hatch covers were developed, became aware of this and acquired the bell which was collected from the ship and taken to their U.K. office on Tyneside, refurbished, and presented to Henri Kummerman, - the entrepeneur who, by then owned the growing MacGregor organisation. In order to commemorate his landmark 70th birthday, the bell was presented at a company reception held on Tyneside and attended by many global members of the MacGregor International organisation and well known marine clients.

The bell was subsequently transported to, and installed within M. Kummerman’s home, ‘Magroria’ in Chateauneuf de Grasse, near Nice in the South of France.

The most recent owner of this house was contacted and who kindly agreed to release the bell for preservation and repatriation to the UK, and after some months the bell duly arrived. A surface solutions expert was contracted to restore the bell’s surfaces to the standard that they are at today, and high class joiners were also contracted to design and fabricate the impressive wooden belfry in which the bell is now mounted and displayed. The bell will eventually be placed on permanent display with other ships’ bells and maritime memorabilia aboard HQS Wellington, the headquarters ship of the City of London Livery Company, The Honourable Company of Master Mariners.

This bell serves as a fitting reminder of the last of the classic days of The Clan Line and its history, as well as a memorial to the forward thinking Henri Kummerman whose life was dedicated to the continual development of safe and efficient methods of Marine Cargo Handling products and services, in use in worldwide ship design and operation today and into the future.